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Should NCAA Athletes Be Paid

One of the heated discussions in the country in relation to college athlete is whether they should be remunerated or not. Currently, the situation is that college athletes are not compensated since NCAA views them as “amateurs” and for this reason; they are prohibited from accepting any monetary compensation. Also, they cannot receive wages and neither can they deal with any publicity that is money related. In fact, several cases of punishments have been reported after the named rules against compensation were broken by high profile players. For example, Todd Gurley, a star in the University of Georgia was temporarily prevented from playing after agreeing to receive money. This, however, is not supported by everyone. While some belief that college athletes should not be paid, many belief that they should be paid. Those who support their payment belief that athletes are NCAA cash cows and should therefore be paid while those who oppose this argue that they get other benefits such as scholarships and tuition for their good performance.  But still, the question remains, should student athlete be compensated?

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Personally, I believe that college athletes should be paid and most of the people agree to this. The main reason is because NCAA makes a lot of money from the athletes and paying these athletes is not fair. A look at the profits made by the organization, according to the Huffington Post shows that the organization made $80 million profit in the year 2014. This was more profit than the amount the organization made in 2013 and also the greatest amount that the organization has made for some time. Apart from the profits, the organization’s assets have also been increasing for some time now. The company earns most of these revenues through fees obtained from marketing and television rights. Others are obtained from the ticket sales during the organization’s championship. A recent post in the Washington Post showed the earnings that students make for the organization.

Average Player Value

Figure 1

Based on these statistics, students seem to generate a lot of revenues for NCAA as shown in Figure 1.  Because of these large revenues, some belief that NCAA is a cash cow also acts as an employer by controlling and dictating the actions of the athletes and by having the right to discipline and or fire the athlete. The organization has the sole ability to govern and regulate student athlete’s behaviors and they also have the ability of renewing or not renewing student’s scholarships for some time now. In fact, the organization acts as a monopoly and has no competition when it comes to other organizations. Athletes have to stay in school for at least two years before entering the NFL. NBA has a similar one year rule and this presents students athletes with few options and are to play for the NCAA.

Although profits are used by some to push the organization into paying the athletes, the organization’s executive argues that these profits are injected back to the same athletes. This is through scholarships, emergency travel expenses and catastrophic injury insurance. The money that remains after all these activities are funded is used by the organization for its daily operations. When supporting this argument, the organization’s spokesperson argued that the organization a not for profit organization. Because of this reason, its money is injected back to the same students in order to help them in succeeding in various life levels such as in academics, field and their life. The spokesperson also claimed that the amount of scholarships provided by the organization are many as so at the amount of money issued for these purposes.

The time and the effort that most athletes spend exercising and playing should also be enough to encourage NCAA to pay them.  Athletes spend more than 43 hours a week working on athletics, and miss more class time than any other student would be allowed and therefore are not as academically successful. The fact that athletes spend more than 43 hours a week practicing and playing the sports that they are receiving scholarships for shows how the athletes are expected to put in overtime. The scholarships do not cover the all expenses and it does not amount to the number of hours used in the field. In addition, these same hours do not allow athletes to work in any type of part time job. In addition, the amount of time these athletes miss from their scheduled classes is excessive.   A good example is the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, which lasts several weeks. Students miss a minimum of six days of class. This means that any other college student who would miss the same time especially in their senior level classes would be kicked out of the class. In addition, the amount paid on athletes through scholarships does not cover all the students’ expenses. A study done by Drexel University Department of Sports Management showed that the annual out of pocket expense to athletes is still over $3000. The gap left behind by the NCAA’s scholarship cap is also subsidized with food stamps and welfare.

Although this is the argument, McCauley opposes arguing that that the athletic scholarships that student athlete receive are and this form of compensation is fair. The students get free education and in return, they represent their schools in different tournaments. In addition, these students do not have to be concerned with student loans, meal plans, paying for textbooks or even worry about the costs associated with college living. This is unlike other students who leave public institutions with a 4 year debt averaging $32,528.

The only problem that exists, according to McCauley, is the uncertainty that lies in the importance of each sport.  The question that most ask is, if the sport doesn’t air on national television, should those athletes receive the same as an athlete who competes while 33 million are people watching them? The author also asks whether it is the fault of athletes for not playing for sports that do not generate revenues. Another question that stems from this is should the men and women basketball players be paid differently?  This is because the viewers who watched NCAA’s men in one of the tournaments were 28.3 million. The same women championship had 3.1 million and the numbers are vastly and obviously different.  These statistics show that many people are interested in watching male students, and this is not the case with women students who equally work hard in their preparations. This means that women cannot control the ratings and the attractiveness the sport they play. The author argues that Division I, II, and III college athletes all put in as many hours and sacrifices their bodies in the same way. Although this uncertainty exists, McCauley explains that these athletes are not being exploited and adds that earning a free education is hardly a form of exploitation. She argues that if the athletes are good enough they will make it to the professionals where they will be paid to entertain us. According to this author, people should look at this situation from a broad perspective so that they can stop pushing NCAA towards paying the student athletes. The same author views college as a place that helps students in obtaining their education, which in turn helps them start their life in the real world and achieve their career aspirations.  However, this is not a place for student athletes to get paid for their sporting activities since there is a professional level for this. Also, it is not the athlete that comes first. Instead, it is the student meaning that the latter should be emphasized on not being paid as a student athlete.

Another reason why they should be paid is because the organization tends to exploit one race than the other. Research has shown that most of the athletes under this organization are blacks. More so, these athletes hail from poor families and they are also characterized by various educational disadvantages. NCAA has become the only option they have towards life success and apparently, they have the skills and work hard to become winners. Some of these students do not perform well academically because of their lack of preparations and their poor backgrounds meaning that some of their scholarships do not get through. Some schools actually undermine some of these scholarships and despite being good players, they do not benefit from the scholarships that NCAA boasts to offer them. In most cases, these students are blindly led to shadow curriculums by their coaches where they are led to empty classes and this almost equal to cheating. Academic support therefore lacks from these coaches. Therefore, some of them end up not benefitting from sports and also not benefiting from the scholarships offered by NCAA meaning that they lose altogether. NCAA can however solve this problem by paying athletes to minimize this disparity.

Although this is most people’s arguments, the organization argues that it has been fair in its dealings with students from all races. The organization explains that it uses standardized scores to determine students who will obtain scholarships without racial discrimination. The score is used by the organization to communicate to students from all races that primary and secondary education is essential and these athletes must do well in all of them. Based on their report, NCAA claims that the rate of black Americans graduating from the organization’s scholarships have been increasing since 1986. In addition, black people have increased their participations in school athletic activities as per the organization’s arguments.

From all these points, it is clear that NCAA benefits from college student and they also make numerous profits from them. The organization also acts solely with no competition from other organizations meaning that it places student athletes at a tight corner when it comes to paid sports. The organization also keeps student athletes from receiving any type of compensation related to their athletic activities. This is so despite the fact that athletes spend much time exercising and playing. The actual time they spend is more than 43 hours a week working on athletics while missing more class time than other students.  The argument that NCAA provides is that the scholarship provided to different athlete students is enough to cover all these efforts. The organization also argues that most of the profits it earns are used up in student related activities and in running the organization. It also argues that the remainder is used in running the organization for its purposes. Other scholars who support the organization argue that student athletes go to school not as athletes but as students. Their other part comes after the student part. In addition, they argue that these students are in better positions that their fellow students since they receive free education, meals and free campus life while others suffer with these and heavy school loans. Although the claims by the organization and its supporters seem strong, the fact remains that the claims against it are too many. The organization makes profits and there is no doubt about that it exploits student athletes. The claim that the organization does not racially discriminate against blacks has also been refuted by many scholars. Although the organization has kept part of its promise, black people are still not well presented in colleges that mostly made up of the white communities. A research done to confirm this showed that black athletes were underrepresented.  This is contrary to the argument that blacks should not be paid as they are well represented and their graduation rate is high. Because of such reasons, NCAA should pay its athletes so as to compensate those who fail to obtain scholarships and have used their times in exercising.

In conclusion, student athletes should be paid by NCAA because the organization earns much from these students’ athletic activities. The students should also be paid because of the efforts they use in their sporting activities and because of the time they lose while exercising. Although these students profit from scholarships provided by NCAA, not all of them get the scholarships. In addition, some times the students are forced to use money from their pockets meaning that NCAA does not fully cover some of the student associated costs. NCAA does not consider this but still continues to oppress student athletes by not allowing them to receive compensations related to their athletic activities. Despite these failures, the organization and some few people still continue to justify its actions and use these justifications for persistent oppression of the students. Students, parents, teachers and all interested parties should therefore join hands in pushing NCAA to pay student athletes and to allow compensation from other sources due to their activity related recognition.

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